The Editorial Collective of the Media Co-op was appalled to learn of the baseless accusations made by New Brunswick CBC Radio's Information Morning against our editor and journalist Miles Howe. We demand that the host issue a retraction, offer equal airtime to Miles to provide his side of the story, and issue an apology as soon as possible.
Information Morning host Terry Seguin and guests Philip Lee and Dan Leger claimed that Miles is a "blogger" and questioned his credentials as a journalist. At one point Leger even calls Miles a "hot-headed fanatic." We deplore the use of this kind of language towards any journalist, let alone one with the tenacity and work ethic of Miles Howe.
On multiple occasions the host and guests claimed that Howe is an unpaid blogger for the Halifax Media Co-op, and questioned whether he or our organization adheres to journalistic standards, fact checking or accuracy in our work. The irony that the host and guests were not meeting their own standards seemed lost on them: a single phone call would have revealed that Howe has been a paid staff editor and journalist with the Media Co-op's national editorial collective for two years now, contributing both to our local website, the Halifax Media Co-op, and our national magazine, The Dominion (which, for the record, does have a fact checking process).
As a staff writer, Miles can publish directly to our website, where there are sections for blogging and sections for reporting. We do our best to hold our journalists to the same degree of accuracy as other outlets, and invite Lee, Leger and Seguin to point out any factual errors they have found in Miles' work. We welcome fact-based criticism of our work, and should a mistake be found, we will happily issue a correction. It appears that Seguin, Lee and Leger didn't do their research before jumping to conclusions about Miles Howe and the Media Co-op.
Howe was the first journalist to begin covering the community opposition to fracking in Elsipogtog, and has remained the most consistent journalist covering the story out of any media outlets. He has been targeted by police for his work, arrested three times so far (no charges have been laid). Other media organizations, such as the Canadian Association of Journalists and PEN Canada, recognize his work and his credentials as a journalist and have spoken out in his defence.
We question why the host and guests of Information Morning would decide that instead of supporting a fellow journalist, they should cast doubt on his work and possibly place him in greater danger of repression. From our perspective, the CBC and mainstream media have generally missed the boat on providing solid coverage of the Elsipogtog fracking controversy, and are degrading the work of journalists like Miles instead of stepping up their own coverage of the issue.
We would also like to express our anger towards the RCMP, which once again targeted Miles Howe with an unfounded arrest. We are calling for a full explanation as to why Miles was taken into custody on Tuesday, November 26. We also demand that all his equipment, including his cell phone and camera which contain sensitive work-related materials, be returned to him immediately.